Welcomeship! Building inclusive communities through community-based entrepreneurship
The recent increase in negative attitudes towards immigration in European countries and xenophobia and hate speech enter public discourse has put the fundamental values of the European Union, such as respect for human dignity, equality, solidarity and freedom, on a proof. The challenges of integrating newcomers in local communities and in society are real, however, seeing migrants and refugees as a potential and not a threat is essential to build on their assets, their added value and new opportunities they can be part of. Europe has always been multicultural and it is clear that we will live in an increasing multicultural setting in the future. The policies of how to manage diversity to support the potential of people of all backgrounds, specifically young migrants and refugees, will determine the future of Europe. The project „Welcomeship – Building inclusive communities through community-based entrepreneurship” addresses these questions.
The project strives to involve policy makers in discussion and designing more inclusive policies for young migrants and refugees across Europe, in particular in the field of entrepreneurship. The Welcomeship project is multi-dimensional and based on non-formal learning methods. Project’s target groups are young people with fewer opportunities, including local youth, migrants and refugees; youth workers, community stakeholders and policy makers. In the course of the project, young people will gain entrepreneurial skills, build their confidence and become more integrated and engaged in their communities; youth workers will become competent trainers and community oriented professionals with a high skill level in entrepreneurship teaching for the specific target group; partner organizations become engines of inclusion within their community and community stakeholders and policy makers will be involved in the project activities to design and support more inclusive policies at local as well as regional and international level.
The partners meeting of the project “Welcomeship! Building inclusive communities through community-based entrepreneurship” took place from 26th-30th April, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
The objective of the partners meeting was:
1. Get to know each other’s profile and expertise.
2. Discuss challenges and opportunities of the local context. How to open minds and
doors and foster entrepreneurship learning as a tool of inclusion?
3. Discuss the Intellectual Outputs:
- O1 Learning Kit: how to develop the content and methods
- O2 Welcomeship Course: specifics of the target group. How can their needs be taken into account?
- O3 Tutorial Programme: how to produce simple convincing tutorials
- O4 Welcomeship Channel: how to embed the element of advocacy from the very beginning
- O5 Guidebook for Inclusive Communities: how to involve policy makers in fostering inclusive communities in the dialogue with residents, young migrants and refugees
4. Agree on the principles of cooperation, communication and risk management in the
Consortium (consensus, commitment, equality, transparency).
5. Clarify project management and administration questions (Trello; ToT, etc.)
At the meeting the partners presented their work, exchange about what motivates them for the Welcomeship project, and look into the project key elements and timeline. In the Welcomeship project we are developing a model of community-based entrepreneurial learning for young people as a mean of building inclusive communities.
The model “Welcomeship” aims at using diversity for a greater social cohesion, is based on collaborative learning and dialogue between the local residents and young people of all backgrounds, including migrants and refugees; raises community spirit and provides young people with specific skills so that they can become active contributors to the society and communities where they live.
The partners meeting set an action plans and distributed tasks to participating organizations. It also set the deadline to deliver and report on the outcome. In this regard we would like to express our appreciation to the coordinating organization YEPP Europe for organizing a successful partners meeting and we look forward to our next meeting in Solna, Sweden.
TOT in Solna, Sweden
What does it take to build businesses based on a vision of an all inclusive society?
All inclusivity not merely viewed as a far future goal, but realized in the here and now, through a project that creates the environment to study and practise the application of tools, that assist in evolving the seed of a talent or potential into social entrepreneurship, through non formal methods, joining young people from all walks of life to collaborate and create the future they want to live in.
In the week of October 24 -30, 2018 eighteen participants from 6 European countries met in Solna, Sweden to prepare for the WelcomeShip Project´s Pilot on national levels. The participating countries Germany, Sweden, Finnland, Italy, England and Portugal were represented by trainers and project coordinators, who intensively went through and tested the training, by simultaneously working with the content from the perspective of a participant, as evaluating the optimum approach of implementing and adapting the methods to their unique local national realities.
The national implementation in Germany started in Cologne with a group of young participants from various cities including Hamburg, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Cologne and Bonn meeting on Feb 23, 2019 for Modul 1.
Opening Minds and Doors
The participants went into a deep exploration of their talents and skills, their intrinsic potential to filter the passion that would be the cornerstone on which their entrepreneurship idea would be build . After exploring key elements that individuals are identified by, through their environment and society, that create identities which cause a sense of separation from each other and culminate into various forms of injustice, the group shared ways that create social justice and foster and enrich all inclusivity.The group calibrated to intensively create businesses that combine their individual passion with being a benefit for people and the planet, while being self sustainable by creating profit.
One of the creative expression of the group exercises in Cologne
On Saturday March 9, the group met for Modul 2 Entrepreneurship and Community.
The workshop started with a study of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Each participant chose one to work with, and shared their thoughts about their choice and the necessity of finding ways to reach that very goal. A deep contemplation on the question how far each individual´s passion, talents and business vision would contribute to supporting the achievement of the SDGs.
Further the group studied the mutual elements and differences between different types of entrepreneurship, and went through case studies of successful global social entrepreneurs. Everyone localised the vision of a just society to the local community they aim to plant their business, and practised mind mapping of that very community. The day ended with rich presentation of community maps in Cologne, Leipzig, Bonn and Grand Popo in Benin
Willy and Anna presenting their vision of a cultural center in Grand Popo, Benin, creating opportunities for young people to engage in practising art. A portion of the profit will flow into the housing and nutrition of street children.
Project Half -Time “Youth Exchange in Albenga”
From April 5 -11, all participating countries met for a one week exchange in Albenga.
40 people from 30 countries of residency or ancestry, met and studied, worked and created, collaborated and celebrated, lived and dished, explored Albenga, enjoyed the sea, laughed and cried , and inspired each other, alongside intensively working on their Business Model Canvas, Prototypes and Pitching Skills.
The exchange finalised in the presentation of all Business Models in front of Albenga´s major, entrepreneurs and the local press. The week was a success on multiple levels. We returned to our home countries, enriched, inspired and expanded in our vision that an all inclusive global society is not an Utopia, but feasible, starting with each and every single individual practising it, and as such creating prototypes that radiate and multiply.
Our map of residency and ancestry representing 30 countries.
Saturday April 27, the participants of the German group met in Cologne for Modul 3, Idea Development. The group intensively studied the Business Model Canvas, using it to deeper dive into the Business Structure of their entrepreneurial idea. Out of that structure the first prototypes were built and represented to an audience during the evening´s entrepreneurship night with guest entrepreneur Anton Schneider, who consulted the group with inputs and advises out of his rich and profound professional experience.
As this article is written, the final Modules 4 and 5 are being scheduled, with two of our participants preparing for leaving to Benin.
The Project started as a vision for local communities, and has expanded global.To create a world that works for as all, there are no limits and boundaries, neither in our hearts and minds nor in the dreams we dream and articulate through our business visions. We continue to dream, that all inclusivity is realistic, because we and majority of the people on this planet proof it.